While football abandoned Christmas Day play years ago, other sports also have a history of December 25 play or are still involved today.

Reporter Adam Whiteside looks at some of the stories:


First played on Christmas Day, 1951: Australia vs West Indies at Adelaide, WI completed six-wicket win by midday on Day Three.

And India vs England at Delhi, where England won.

In 2016, New Zealand are playing Bangladesh in an ODI and Australia take on Pakistan in a Test (starting Boxing day in those countries).


Annual tradition in America since 1947 (the leagues second season).

Often features a rematch of NBA finals from previous season.

Miami Heat have the best Christmas Day win percentage with 0.833 (10 wins, 2 losses)

LeBron James in action for Miami Heat, 2014

Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves have never played on Christmas Day.

Either the Boston Celtics or LA Lakers have featured on Christmas Day every year since 1999.

Kobe Bryant all-time Christmas Day top point-scorer with 383.


There have been 17 games on Christmas Day in history.

Oakland Raiders 30 Kansas City Chiefs 31 is the highest scoring Christmas Day game.

Dallas Cowboys have played most Christmas Day games with five (2 wins, 3 losses).

In 2016 - Baltimore Ravens are playing Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos take on Kansas City Chiefs.

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Ice Hockey

From the 1920s to 1971 it was a regular occurrence.

In 1971 there were six fixtures for the final time.

Only one game was ever decided in overtime on Christmas Day – Detroit 3 Brooklyn Americans 2 (1941).


In 1950, Sugar Ray Robinson fought Hans Stretz in Frankfurt, Germany - his fifth fight in Europe in the span of 29 days.

Terry Downes ducks under a right-hand from Sugar Ray Robinson, 1962

On Christmas Day 1908, Jack Johnson became the first black world heavyweight champion by stopping Tommy Burns in the 14th round.

Benny Leonard fought twice on Christmas Day in 1911 - knocking out Smiling Kemp in the first round then winning a six-round decision over Sammy Marino.

Rugby Union - On Christmas Day 1872, a game between 20 England players and 20 players from Wales, Ireland and Scotland was played in Calcutta (origins of the Calcutta Cup).


Cyclists in Southwark have a Christmas Day Ride every year in Greenwich

Free entry, not competitive and over 100 cyclists have taken part over the past few years. Being ridden again this year.

Baseball - on December 25, 1888, the first ever indoor baseball game on record was played in Philadelphia. Uptowners played Downtowners and won 6-1 in front of 2,000.